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Archive for the ‘Toys’ Category

If you have children or know a child or have ever known someone who’s had a child – you probably know that K’NEX makes some of the very best toys for children of all ages.  Not only are they well built – but they are just plain extraordinary items.  Especially, for those children that are mechanically inclined and have an active imagination.  In fact, seemingly as many adults are enamoured with these toys as the children who own them.  Perhaps, its the versatility of the toy to offer challenges that reflect the mental capacity of the owner – children will build small cars or houses, while adults replicate modern engineering marvels.  If you browse the web, you’ll find virtually every major mechanical invention since the industrial revolution replicated with K’NEX toys.  knex

Amazingly – and something I wasn’t aware of – K’NEX is based in Hatfield, Pa – where they manufacture the plastic, injection-molded toys that grace the isles of toy stores all across the country.  At one point, I live within a few miles of the facility and wasn’t aware that such an operation existed near by.

The company also operates the distribution of the original Lincoln Logs – licensed through Hasboro.  These items and some of the other K’NEX lines are imported – so, you may want to read the labels before you purchase.  But…I did check at the local Toy’s-R-Us store – and indeed, you will see the Made in the USA stamp on their better products. 

K’NEX proclaims on its website that it believes in being environmentally and socially responsible, while providing a safe and meaningful work environment for its employees.  Be sure to look out for products from this “Made in Pennsylvania” toy company and certainly consider them for your children this Christmas. 

Company Website.

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Channel Craft was started in the early 1980’s by Dean Helfer, Jr. – who used to set-up a “hand made toy” booth at folk festivals around the country.  He would sand and finish toys for his customers as they watched.  He later took his toys to arts & crafts festivals and generated enough interest that he eventually had to set-up a bricks and mortar company in Southwestern, Pa in the town of Charleroi, Pa (population: 5,000).  The company is a a stones throw from the Monongahela river and employees 70 people to manufacture and distributes a very nice variety of toys and puzzles for both children and adults.cc2  Channel Craft makes many of their own toys, but they also distribute a very nice selection of other Made in the USA toys from around the country – all beautifully designed and packaged.

Company Website

To purchase a product…

Fatbraintoys.com

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In the spirit of the holidays – it would be nice to point out that Bradford, Pa based Holgate Toys still makes its wooden toys in Pennsylvania.  Holgate Toys was established in 1789 in Kane, Pa and relocated to Bradford, Pa in 1929.  The company chose Bradford, Pa because of it’s proximity to vast tracks of hardwood timber – predominantly maple.  Holgate Toys makes childrens furniture in addition holgate2to a broad selection of wooden childrens toys that are all handsomely painted and would be excellent for any toddler.  Holgate Toys has capitalized on parents interest in purchasing safe, non-toxic, locally made toys that will last through multiple generations.  The toys are all incredibly well built and make great gifts!

Company Website.

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Crayola – the name we all associate with Crayons – has remained in Pennsylvania for 108 years.  Formerly known as the Binney & Smith cayolaCompany, Crayola is headquartered in Easton, Pa and has its main manufacturing facility down the road in Bethlehem where it produces Crayons, markers, paints, and clay among other things.  The company’s was first major product was dustless chaulk that won a gold medal for at the 1902 St. Louis World Fair.  A year later, the company produced a wax-based product – the Crayola Crayon, meant for children.  Crayola was a brand to represent their children’s line of products, which was considered the first non-toxic marketing utensils for the age-category.  The company has been a sibsidiary of Hallmark since 1984 and also is known for Silly Putty and wshable markers.  Also, check out their Easton Visitors Center for kids (and adults) – a 20,000 sq. ft. creative & visitors centers dubbed the “cornerstone of the revitalization of Easton”).  Company Website.

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Yes – hard to believe – one of the greatest childhood toys ever made is still being produced in Holidaysburg, Pa.  The toy was dreamt up by a mechanical engineer who saw a spring fall off a table.  He put together a small amount of investment money and debuted the toy by demonstrating its “walking” capabilities in a Philadelphia department store in 1945.  The slinky is now the official toy of Pennsylvania.  Company Website.

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